Tuesday 20 March 2018

Writer cried 'are you mad?' as DSK grabbed her, police told

Henry Samuel in Paris

Dominique Strauss-Kahn told police he grabbed Tristane Banon, the writer who has accused him of attempted rape, but let go when she shouted "are you mad?" according to an interview transcript, leaked on Friday.

The details were made public the day after prosecutors in Paris dropped all attempted rape charges against him, but said there was evidence he had "sexually assaulted" his alleged victim.

Leaked by Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyers to the French press, the 62-year-old former head of the International Monetary Fund is cited in the extracts as saying: "Tristan Banon arrived, we sat down, she in the armchair, I on the sofa." He said that after conducting an interview for her book lasting about half an hour: "She stopped her questions and we talked in a more light-hearted manner. We 'bantered'."

He said: "I asked her what her tastes were in art, literature, travel. We spoke in a lighter tone. Then we got up to leave. Then I tried to kiss her."

When asked to elaborate, he is quoted as saying: "I tried to take her in my arms. I tried to kiss her on the mouth. She pushed back firmly. She cried out, more or less, 'are you mad?' I immediately relaxed my grip. She grabbed her things and left the flat, furious."

Ms Banon (32) accused Mr Strauss-Kahn of attacking her in a flat in the French capital in 2003. She claimed he had acted like a "rutting chimpanzee".

But in a statement on Thursday, the prosecutor's office declared that a three-month police investigation had found insufficient evidence to charge Mr Strauss-Kahn with attempted rape. However, it said it recognised there were "facts that could qualify as sexual aggression". As this lesser charge had a statute of limitations of three years, no legal action could be brought.

Ms Banon's lawyer said that the decision was a "first victory" against Mr Strauss-Kahn, now an "unconvicted sex attacker" about whom there remained a "legitimate suspicion concerning his behaviour towards women".

But Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyers argued that he had been "completely cleared" and that the decision supported his claim that he had "made an advance" but had not been violent. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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